Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year (Trinity 25)
St. Peter Lutheran Church
St. Matthew 24: 14-28
November 11, 2012
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The time is short. The end is near.
What should we do?
Last year the man on 91.9 FM predicted the return of Jesus on May 21st. Since then he reportedly has admitted that it was sinful to try to predict a certain day for Jesus’ return, since Jesus said, “No man knows the day or the hour.” Thanks be to God for his repentance.
This year some people claim the end will come because the ancient Mayan calendar predicts it.
Probably most people don’t believe that. But look at the world. Things everywhere are telling us that the world is hanging by a thread. The weather and the oceans—chaotic because of “global warming,” as we’re told. Economic crisis looming over the world. Moral crisis shaking formerly Christian nations.
Or is it that our conscience whispers to us that it can’t be long before the sins of the world are punished? And then we look at the world and see the signs?
It’s both. Our consciences speak to us about sin and God’s wrath. But the signs of the end are also present. Jesus rebuked the people to whom He preached: “You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the weather, but not the signs of the times.” We should not ignore the signs by which God warns us of the judgment that is right at the door.
As long as death seems not to be near, and as long as Jesus’ return seems like it will wait for at least a few more years, repentance can also wait. We figure we can enjoy ourselves now and leave serious soul-searching and sorrow for our sins until we are closer to the end.
That is the way unbelievers deal with the last judgment. 2 Peter 3 says: Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation…” But the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise…but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance…The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:3-4, 9-10)
Jesus warned the disciples to pay attention to the signs that would mark the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. When you see the abomination of desolation, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. The abomination of desolation meant the defiling of the Holy Place—the temple. When this happened, Jesus warned that the Christians in Judea should flee without looking back. And the Christians did flee when the Roman armies gathered to attack Jerusalem. As a result they were saved from the great slaughter that came upon the Jews and the city of Jerusalem.
When the temple was torn down, that was the end of Israel as God’s chosen political kingdom on earth. The stones of the temple were replaced with the living stones of the new temple, Christ’s church.
But just as the Judean Christians were to watch for the signs of the destruction of the temple and be ready to flee into the mountains without turning back, so Christians are to be ready for the coming destruction of the world, ready to leave it without looking back.
So what are the signs that the world’s end is upon us? Jesus names one thing in particular: Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
False Christs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders are the signals that the end of the world is at hand. The signs of brokenness in nature and the economy point to the fact that the world is coming to an end. But false prophets and false Christs—that is, people who put forth man’s word as the word of God, and people who proclaim a false salvation—this is far worse than a hurricane knocking out power in New York. False teaching and false saviors are a worse plague than nuclear war would be. Wars and earthquakes and terrorist attacks can only disrupt earthly life, make it unpleasant or take it away. But false doctrine and false saviors bring eternal misery.
And yet, as bad as the consequences of false teaching is, there is nothing that people seem to hate hearing more than calling out false teachers and false teaching by name. If a preacher slips a little bit of false doctrine into his teaching—that is, a little poison, a little bit of the lies of the devil, the world, the flesh—that shouldn’t be criticized, because no one is perfect. Okay. Try saying that the next time the government makes a mistake that results in the loss of life! “No one’s perfect” is true, but we don’t tolerate it if leaders slip up and accidentally kill people. But if a preacher by his false teaching endangers the souls of those who hear him—that shouldn’t be criticized.
How do you tell false Christs and false prophets? And how do you prepare for the destruction of the world when false Christs and false prophets appear?
False Christs and false prophets direct you away from the true Christ. Sometimes they do that in an obvious way; sometimes in a subtle way. Sometimes false prophets come from outside of the church and sometimes from within.
Then there are Christians and preachers whose teaching is infected by false doctrine, but who do it in weakness. Though their false teaching is evil and destructive, it happens through weakness.
Very early on in the history of the church this spirit of false prophecy and false Christs began to appear. There were some Christians in the days of the apostles who taught that unless the Gentiles began to keep the whole law of Moses—being circumcised, observing the Sabbath day, not eating pork—they could not be saved.
St. Paul opposed this false teaching fiercely and insisted, “A man is justified by faith in Christ alone apart from the works of law.” Of any law! But believing that when the waters are up to your neck is not so easy.
When the people of Israel were out by the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s armies were bearing down on them, they started to be afraid. When it seems like God’s wrath is coming down on the earth—or simply that death is approaching us as individuals—then saying “I am justified by faith in Jesus Christ apart from the deeds of the law” seems to be not so powerful.
But Moses said to the Israelites: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
That is Jesus’ word to us as the end approaches. “Fear not, stand firm.” That is not the same as the fearlessness people have who are ignoring danger. It is the fearlessness of faith in Christ that sees the danger but sees also the victory of Christ and the firmness of His promise.
A while back there was a movie called “Downfall” which pictured the last days of Hitler’s regime as the allies approached Berlin from both sides. In the film, as the shells were shaking the city, Hitler’s mistress Eva Braun and her entourage were holding a drunken soiree and pretending it wasn’t happening, until finally a shell hit the building they were in and knocked the power out.
That’s oftentimes how we are. Our flesh wants to pretend the party will never end.
But then when death and judgment are on the horizon, then the unbelieving start to run around everywhere looking for help. They run here, and then quickly run there. They go to one church, and then another. They read one book, and then another. Someone says, “The savior is in the desert” and they run there. Someone else says, “The savior is in the inner rooms,” and they run there.
That panic of the unbeliever who fears judgment has been found in the church. In fact it has taken over the church at various periods of history; false prophets have lured people away with miracles and signs into false religions, and they have set up in the church and taught a different Gospel.
Any teaching that says you must run here or there for salvation comes from the spirit of false prophecy or antichrist. Some promise salvation if we run to a monastery or out in the desert to live a holier life than everyone else. Other teachers promise salvation only if we ally ourselves with the right church or religious organization.
But really, you have only to be silent—as Moses said. There is only one salvation. And that is the Lord Himself, who fights for you.
The Lord Himself fought for you when He suffered God’s wrath against all your transgressions on the cross. You didn’t do that. You didn’t earn that. You didn’t receive it by running to this location or that. It was given to you in the Gospel. It was proclaimed to you. Jesus, the Lord, found you and forgave your sins.
When you were a baby, most of you were saved by Jesus. You were baptized into His death and resurrection. You didn’t do anything for that. It was simply given to you. And then you didn’t do any holy works; you were just a baby. And when you got older you had to be taught the faith. Yet you were saved. And that baptism still saves us. We have only to be still, as Zachary W. by God’s grace will be saved today. He will not do anything. He will simply be brought in our prayers and with our hands, and Jesus, according to His promise, will bestow salvation.
How can salvation be that simple? Surely we should run here or there, or do something?
No. Salvation is given. Today Jesus gives it to us in His body and blood. It is His promise alone that saves. “For you for the forgiveness of sins.”
On the last day it will be the same. We will not be heirs of God because we ran here or there. We have Christ’s promise that we are heirs. And so He promises that we do not have to run anywhere. He will appear in great glory, and those who are His own He will rescue and raise from the dead to live with Him in His glory.
Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria.
- Sermon – All Saints’ Sunday Revelation 7:9-17 (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
Prayer on the Festival of the Reformation
(October 8, 2012)
Lord Jesus Christ, You came into the world to call sinners to repentance, and to enlighten every man to eternal life. We praise You with our whole hearts, and thank Your great goodness and mercy, that You have come to this place, and to this church and communion with Your divine word and holy sacraments and have swept out the leaven of the papist doctrine and idolatry. Not only that, but You have also redeemed us poor sinners from the kingdom of darkness and called us to the light of the holy gospel, transferring us into the kingdom of grace.
Oh Lord Jesus, we are too insignificant for all of this Your goodness and faithfulness. But we pray to You with humble hearts that You would abide with us a little longer with Your grace, the divine word and holy sacraments, so that Your holy name would be known among us, alone be feared and glorified, and we live as is well-pleasing to You, and serve You. But whatever evil we have done against You and Your holy word—wherever we have not been willing to listen to the gospel—please forgive us those things, Lord Jesus Christ, by Your grace. Do not snatch away from us this treasure that makes a person blessed forever, but let it be preserved unadulterated by us and our descendants. Yes, Lord Jesus, preserve Your Word among us, because it is the joy and comfort of our hearts.
Protect and keep us and Your whole Christian Church—that is, Your Evangelical-Lutheran Church—from all error, unbelief, and harmful, alien doctrine. Defend against all enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and be our confidence, our strength, our shade and shield, so that the gates of hell do not overcome us. Especially we pray to You, Lord, our Savior, that You would visit the house of our hearts, enlighten us with Your Holy Spirit, purify our hearts, and grant that by grace we may walk worthily of the Gospel, remaining in the truth once recognized and confessed. O Lord Jesus, let Your salvation come to our souls, that we might become eternally blessed through You, and might see Your and Your great glory forever. Amen.
I can’t tell you how many times people in my congregation have said to me that I was doing something that was “too catholic.” 9 times out of 10 whatever it was that was “too catholic” was a very small departure from the baptist/methodist liturgical ethos and piety that is familiar to so many Lutherans. IE, “You made us stop singing happy birthday in the sanctuary (after 5 years.) That’s too Catholic!”
So after awhile, I tried using “that’s too catholic” as a way of preventing changes that people asked for that I didn’t want, or in order to puncture people’s certainty that everything they like and were familiar with was not catholic, and eveything they didn’t like was catholic.
I decided to start adding this regular feature to the blog called, “That’s too catholic.” I will either be describing things that Lutherans will frequently say is “catholic”, and how they’re not. Or I will point out how a lot of things that Lutherans love and would complain about if you took them away are really originally from the Roman Catholic church.
Now, for our first example. When I grew a long beard several months back, all I ever heard was about how I should shave because I looked like I lived in a cardboard box. Back then my best response was, “I’m trying to reach the young people, because beards are cool now.”
Little did I know that when I was told to shave by someone shaking my hand outside of church and was told that my beard was like that of a bum, I should have made a deeply disgusted face and said, “Shaving? That’s too catholic!” [I have really tried this response in a couple of cases, but I’ve found it didn’t work any better than the “trying to reach the young people” thing does.]
See the post below.
Monday, September 10, 2012
The Lutheran Beard
[Luther is the guy on the top. He grew the beard when he was in hiding after he became an outlaw and was fair game to be killed by order of the German Empire. The second guy is Martin Chemnitz. He helped write “The Formula of Concord”, the final document in the Book of Concord, the confessions of the Lutheran church. He is considered the second greatest Lutheran theologian in history after Luther.]
Apparently Lutherans grew beards in reaction to the canon law of the Pope’s church, which made it mandatory for clergy to shave.
So far as concerns England in particular it was certainly regarded throughout the Middle Ages as uncanonical to allow the beard to grow. A cleric was known as a shorn man (bescoren man, Laws of Wihtred, A.D. 96), and if it should seem that this might refer to the tonsure, we have a law of King Alfred: “If a man shave off another’s beard let him make amends with twenty shillings. If he bind him first and then shave him like a priest (hine to preoste bescire) let him make amends with sixty shillings.” And under Edgar we find the canon: “Let no man in holy orders conceal his tonsure, nor let himself be misshaven nor keep his beard for any time, if he will have God’sblessing and St. Peter’s and ours.” A similar practice obtained generally throughout the West and it was one of the great subjects of reproach on the part of the Greek Church, from the time of Photius onwards, that the Romanclergy systematically cut off their beards. But as Ratramnus of Corbie protested, it was foolish to make an outcry about a matter which concerned salvation so little as this barbæ detonsio aut conservatio.
The legislation requiring the beard to be shaved seems to have remained in force throughout the Middle Ages. Thus an ordinance of the Council of Toulouse, in 1119, threatened with excommunicationthe clerics who “like a layman allowed hair and beard to grow”, and Pope Alexander IIIordained that clerics who nourished their hair and beard were to be shorn by their archdeacon, by force if necessary. This last decree was incorporated in the text of the canon law (Decretals of Gregory IX, III, tit. i, cap. vii). Durandus, finding mystical reasons for everything, according to his wont, tells us that “length of hair is symbolical of the multitude of sins. Hence clerics are directed to shave their beards; for the cutting of the hair of the beard, which is said to be nourished by the superfluous humours of the stomach, denotes that we ought to cut away the vices and sins which are a superfluous growth in us. Hence we shave our beards that we may seem purified by innocence and humility and that we may be like the angels who remain always in the bloom of youth.” (Rationale, II, lib. XXXII.)
The kind of effeminate thinking in the last quote is the very reason that we should recognize the spirit of antichrist at work in Rome. By extension, Durandus is arguing that men are more sinful than women. But Scripture teaches that it is the office of men to lead spiritually, and that it was the neglect of this office that led to the fall into sin. So why should clergy, of all people, want to look less manly and more feminine? So they can be more like the woman who was deceived by the serpent?
Femininity and Christianity should not be synonymous.
The Catholic Encyclopedia goes on:
In spite of this, the phrase barbam nutrire which was classical in the matter, and was still used by the Fifth Council of Lateran (1512), always remained somewhat ambiguous. Consequently usage in the sixteenth century began to interpret the prohibition as not inconsistent with a short beard. There are still many ordinances of episcopalsynods which deal with the subject, but the point upon which stress is laid is that the clergy “should not seem to be aping the fashions of military folk” or wearing flowing beards like goats (hircorum et caprarum more), or allowing the hair on their upper lip to impede their drinking of the chalice. This last has always been accounted a solid reason in favour of the practice of shaving. To judge by the portraits of the popes, it was with Clement VII (1523) that a distinct beard began to be worn, and many among his successors, for example Paul III, allowed the beard to grow to considerable length. St. Charles Borromeo attempted to check the spread of the new fashion, and in 1576 he addressed to his clergy a pastoral “De barbâ radendâ” exhorting them to observe the canons. Still, though the length of clericalbeards decreased during the seventeenth century, it was not until its close that the example of the French court and the influence of CardinalOrsini, Archbishop of Beneventum, contributed to bring about a return to the earlier usage. For the last 200 years there has been no change, and an attempt made by some of the clergy of Bavaria in 1865 to introduce the wearing of beards was rebuked by the Holy See.
As already noted, in Eastern lands a smooth face carries with it the suggestion of effeminacy. For this reason the clergy, whether Catholic or Schismatic, of the Orientalchurches have always worn their beards. The same consideration, together with a regard for practical difficulties, has influenced the Romanauthorities in according a similar privilege to missionaries, not only in the East but in other barbarous countries where the conveniences of civilization cannot be found. In the case of religious orders like the Capuchins and the CamaldoleseHermits the wearing of a beard is prescribed in their constitutions as a mark of austerity and penance. Individualpriests who for medical or other reasons desire to exempt themselves from the law require the permission of their bishop.
So as a good Lutheran, I can’t allow any bishop to tell me how long my beard can be. I’m almost required to grow a long beard. And am I going to let the women around me tell me how long my beard can be? No, no, no. We must stand firm in the freedom with which Christ has made us free men. Thus, I’m going to grow a sweet beard not only for Reformation but maybe all the way to Easter. No razor shall touch my face, except maybe a little bit on the sides so that it grows down instead of out, because my beard got kind of round last time.
It’s funny that in Eastern lands a smooth face carries with it the suggestion of effeminacy. You know, if we weren’t used to men trimming or shaving off their beards all the time, it would look effeminate to us too. Kind of like it would look masculine to us for women to wear pants all the time if we had lived a few decades ago when you could still see women wearing dresses. I’m afraid dresses are going to become extinct.
At this point the deeply moving writing of Clement of Alexandria on this matter needs to be heard:
To such an extent, then, has luxury advanced, that not only are the female sex deranged about this frivolous pursuit, but men also are infected with the disease. For not being free of the love of finery, they are not in health; but inclining to voluptuousness, they become effeminate, cutting their hair in an ungentlemanlike and meretricious way, clothed in find and transparent garments, chewing mastich, smelling of perfume. What can one say on seeing them? Like one who judges people by their foreheads, he will divine them to be adulterers and effeminate, addicted to both kinds of venery, haters of hair, destitute of hair, detesting the bloom of manliness, and adorning their locks like women….For their service the towns are full of those who take out hair by pitch plasters, shave, and pluck out hairs from these womanish creatures. And shops are erected and opened everywhere; and adepts at this meretricious fornication make a deal of money openly by those who plaster themselves, and give their hair to be pulled out in all ways by those who make it their trade, feeling no shame before the onlookers or those who approach, nor before themselves, being men.
In other words, the classical world was full of what we now call metrosexuals.
But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth them, how womanly! And in truth, unless you saw them naked, you would suppose them to be women. For although not allowed to wear gold, yet out of effeminate desire they enwreathe their latches and fringes with leaves of gold; or, getting certain spherical figures of the same metal made, they fasten them to their ankles, and hang them from their necks. This is a device of enervated men, who are dragged to the women’s apartments, amphibious and lecherous beasts. For this is a meretricious and impious form of snare. For God wished women to be smooth, and rejoice in their locks alone growing spontaneously, as a horse in his mane; but has adorned man, like the lions, with a beard, and endowed him, as an attribute of manhood, with shaggy breasts, –a sign this of strength and rule. So also cocks, which fight in defence of the hens, he has decked with combs, as it were helmets; and so high a value does God set on these locks, that he orders them to make their appearance on men simultaneously with discretion, and delighted with a venerable look, has honored gravity of countenance with grey hairs. But wisdom, and discriminating judgments that are hoary with wisdom, attain maturity with time, and by the vigour of long experience give strength to old age, producing grey hairs, the admirable flower of venerable wisdom, conciliating confidence.
This, then, the mark of the man, the beard, by which he is seen to be a man, is older than Eve, and is the token of the superior nature. In this God deemed it right that he should excel and dispersed hair over man’s whole body. Whatever smoothness and softness was in him He abstracted from his side when He formed the woman Eve, physically receptive, his partner in parentage, his help in household management, while he (for he had parted with all smoothness) remained a man, and shows himself man. And to him has been assigned action, as to her suffering; for what is shaggy is drier and warmer than what is smooth. Wherefore males have both more hair and more heat than females, animals that are entire than the emasculated, perfect than imperfect. It is therefore impious to desecrate the symbol of manhood, hairiness. But the embellishment of smoothing (for I am warned by the Word,) if it is to attract men, is the act of effeminate person,–if to attract women, is the act of an adulterer; and both must be driven as far as possible from our society….
….Rather we ought not to call such as these men, but lewd wretches, and effeminate, whose voices are feeble, and whose clothes are womanish both in feel and dye. And such creatures are manifestly shown to be what they are from their external appearance, their clothes, shoes, form, walk, cut of their hair, look. “For from his looks hall a man be known,” says the Scripture, “and from meeting a man, the man is known: the dress of a man, the step of his foot, the laugh of his teeth, tell tales of him. ”
…Of the nations, the Celts and Scythians wear their hair long, but do not deck themselves. The bushy hair of the barbarian has something fearful in it; and its auburn colour threatens war, the hue being somewhat akin to blood. Both these barbarian races hate luxury…I approve the simplicity of the barbarians: loving an unencumbered life, the barbarians have abandoned luxury. Such the Lord calls us to be—naked of finery, naked of vanity, wrenched from our sins, bearing only the wood of life, aiming only at salvation.
Clement of Alexandria, “The Instructor,” Book 3, Chapter 3 (p. 275 f. in Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2)
I guess here is where I have to give the caveat that you are free in Christ to shave and dye your hair or whatever. However, I do think Clement has some points here that we shouldn’t brush off so easily–about the sin of vanity, for instance. About the order of creation and the wickedness of trying to invert it. But I’ll save it for another post.
Just be a real Lutheran and grow a beard.
- Lutheran “Austerity” v. “Catholic” Profligacy? (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Judge to Fort Hood suspect: Shave or be shaved (cbsnews.com)
- Roman Catholic Church Continues to Support Bishop Convicted of Covering Up for Pedophile Priest (theintelhub.com)
- Why we won’t get a bearded pope (telegraph.co.uk)
You know that really beautiful verse from the Quran that you always hear about on TV, about how if someone kills another person unjustly, it’s like he killed all mankind?
Because of that We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. And indeed, there came to them Our Messengers with clear proofs, evidences, and signs, even then after that many of them continued to exceed the limits (e.g. by doing oppression unjustly and exceeding beyond the limits set by Allah by committing the major sins) in the land!.The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.
On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;
The People’s Assembly Proposals and Complaints Committee discussed in a meeting Tuesday a bill proposed by MP Adel Azzazy from the Salafi-oriented Nour Party that would apply Islamic law for certain crimes.
The proposed law calls for the application of “Heraba,” an Islamic penalty for criminal actions that include overt robbery, murder, forcible taking of property with a weapon and vandalizing public facilities.
The penalties according to Azzazy’s bill are execution in the case of murder, or cutting one arm and one leg from opposite sides of the culprit’s body in the cases of robbery and forcible taking of property. If the taking of possessions is accompanied by murder, the penalty would be death or crucifixion, to be determined by the judge.
“This is God’s law and is not optional,” Azzazy said, commenting on his proposal. “The current penalties are not deterrent enough.
Muslim Brotherhood ‘Crucifies’ Opponents, Attacks Secular Media
by Raymond Ibrahim
Investigative Project on Terrorism
August 15, 2012
Last week in Egypt, when Muslim Brotherhood supporters terrorized the secular media, several Arabic websites—including Arab News, Al Khabar News, Dostor Watany, and Egypt Now—reported that people were being “crucified.” The relevant excerpt follows in translation:
A Sky News Arabic correspondent in Cairo confirmed that protestors belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others. Likewise, Muslim Brotherhood supporters locked the doors of the media production facilities of 6-October [a major media region in Cairo], where they proceeded to attack several popular journalists…
And, it turns out, the Oxford of the Dar al Islam–or at least one member on the ‘fatwa committee’ says that demonstrations against the Muslim Brotherhood are “disobedience to Allah and his messenger.” (By the way, I am in favor of the Committee on Theology and Church Relations in my denomination changing its name to “The Lutheran Fatwa Committee.”) Should we expect more crucifixions?
If there are more, can we expect to see them reported in the news?
A member of Al-Azhar’s fatwa committee has said that fighting participants in anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations planned for 24 August is a religious obligation.
During a seminar late Tuesday at the Diplomats’ Club in Cairo, Sheikh Hashem Islam accused people intending to take part in the anticipated protests of committing “a major treason,” and calling them bandits, traitors, disobedient to God, His messenger, the nation and all Muslims.
…There can be no better government for this world than the devil’s, or instead of the devil’s, the government of the Pope. For this is what the world wants. What the devil wants goes forth and mightily prospers; what God wants both in the spiritual and worldly government, never succeeds without innumerable hindrances…
Luther, Church Postil, 2nd Sunday after Trinity, 48
Why does the world love the devil and the Pope? According to Luther, because the world loves success and glory and splendor.
On the other hand, God’s will “never succeeds” without being constantly interfered with, hassled, etc.
Well, hardly a Sunday goes by, and certainly not a council meeting, where someone doesn’t talk about how large our congregation once was, how it’s “dying” now, and how we are losing all the “good givers” (i.e. they are dying, or the pastor is driving them off) and we aren’t getting new ones.
Oh, if only we could go back to Egypt, where the pews were full, and we sang Amazing Grace every week, and the pastor’s sermons were 4 minutes long because he understood that we knew everything already!
But now this guy keeps talking about Christ crucified, making us sing Lutheran hymns, and interrupting donut time with the small catechism! and if he keeps that up nobody’s going to want to come here!
Beloved God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! We pray You: visit us once again with all Your wonderful works, and let us see the day of the coming of the glory of Your Son, when that joker, the Antichrist, who is the man of sin and the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4), will be overthrown and smashed to pieces. Bring to an end the massive deception of the devil, through which, sadly, at each moment many thousand souls perish and are dragged into hell, only for this reason—that the [adherents of the Pope] want to preserve the tyranny of the detestable and apostate (that is, [Christ-] renouncing] chair in Rome in its essential nature [as the seat within God’s temple in which man exalts himself above God—2 Thessalonians 2:4]. To this the whole world says, Amen, Amen. Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Evangelische Lutherischer Gebets-Schatz.
*Praying against the Pope as the antichrist is not an indication of hatred toward Roman Catholics. Jeremiah and the other prophets of Israel lambasted their people and especially their priests and rulers who led them into idolatry and other false teaching. They were accused of hating their own people, just as Jesus was when He condemned the chief priests and prophesied the desolation of Jerusalem.
It is impossible to really love people and at the same time be dedicated to not having people get angry with you. It’s also impossible to love people and refuse to face the truth and then tell the truth. The pure doctrine of Christ is about to be lost to our children because Lutherans (and protestants generally) have been deceived into thinking that the certainty of faith–and the confession of the truth that must follow true faith–is arrogance. We are not called to be arrogant. But we are called to be certain of God’s Word and to confess it and teach it not only in our own homes and congregations but before the great people of the world.
- Prayer for the Church and Against her Enemies – Luther. (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Martin Luther’s Ambassador: An Unclean Frog Spirit (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Dispensationalism (12160.info)
- The Facts About the Antichrist (donizzyreal.wordpress.com)
- St. Francis of Assisi Prophesies of the Beast (gofishministries.wordpress.com)
- Ghp – 09june12 – “You have heard that Antichrist cometh” (1 John 2:18); “This is Antichrist, (is that why the bird came to me in temple / i told the minister and went to the box) of whom you have heard that he cometh” but this is the son of the living g’d (godheadpost.wordpress.com)
- Justifying Our Way to Hell (loopyloo305.com)
- Many will be Offended (meshawnsenior.wordpress.com)
Reason, of course, cannot comprehend this way of speaking, which says that our righteousness is something which involves nothing active or passive on our part, yes, something in which I do not participate with my thoughts, perception, and senses; that nothing at all in me makes me pleasing to God and saves me; but that I leave myself and all human thoughts and ability out of account and cling to Christ, who sits up there at the right hand of God and whom I do not even see.
Faith must lay hold of this, must be founded on it, and must take comfort from it in times of temptation, when the devil and man’s own conscience argue with him as follows: “Listen. What kind of Christian are you? Where is your righteousness? Do you not see and feel that you are a sinner? How, then, will you pass muster before God?”
The section in Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 24 on chapter 16 of St. John’s Gospel is a gold mine. I found some amazing quotes about prayer when I was trying to translate Joachim Westphal‘s tract on prayer, and he quoted from these sermons. These comments on John 16:10 will probably never be surpassed by a human being in this age. If you’re preaching on the Gospel for Cantate (historic lectionary), or if you’ve struggled with assurance of your salvation, read this and you will see what I mean. The best part is in the middle.
It has been stated often enough that all men and everything they do—including even what is good and praiseworthy in the eyes of the whole world, and, in addition, is performed in accordance with the Ten Commandments—are subject to sin and damnation. If this is true, what, then, becomes of righteousness? Or how is one to attain it? Christ replies here: “My going to the Father is righteousness.” There you must seek and find it, not in yourself or on earth among men, no matter who or what kind of people they are. For Christians should know of no other righteousness with which to pass muster before God and to be declared righteous, to obtain forgiveness of sin and eternal life, than Christ’s going to the Father. As has often been stated, this is nothing else than Christ’s assumption of our sins; His crucifixion, burial, and descent into hell on account of them; and the fact that He did not remain under sin or in death and hell but passed through these by means of His resurrection and ascension, and now reigns with power over all creatures at the right hand of God.
Now Christ did not go to the Father for His own sake or for His own Person. For this would not have helped us and could not be called our righteousness. But just as He came down from heaven for our sakes and became our flesh and blood, so He also ascended into heaven for our sakes after conquering sin, death, and hell and entering into His dominion, by which He redeems us from all this and gives us forgiveness of sin, power, and victory over the devil and death. Such is the nature of His reign that His kingdom is called and is “righteousness,” that is, the righteousness which abolishes sin and unrighteousness and makes man righteous and acceptable before God.
This righteousness, however, is completely concealed, not only from the world but also from the saints. It is not a thought, a word, or a work in ourselves, as the scholastics fantasized about grace when they said that it is something poured into our hearts. (20) No, it is entirely outside and above us; it is Christ’s going to the Father, that is, His suffering, resurrection, and ascension. Christ placed this outside the sphere of our senses; we cannot see and feel it. The only way it can be grasped is by faith in the Word preached about him, which tells us that He Himself is our Righteousness. Thus St. Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:30: “Whom God made our Wisdom, our Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption,” in order that before God we may boast, not of ourselves but solely of this Lord.
This is a peculiar righteousness; it is strange indeed that we are to be called righteous or to possess a righteousness which is really no work, no thought, in short, nothing whatever in us but is entirely outside us in Christ and yet becomes truly ours by reason of His grace and gift, and becomes our very own, as though we ourselves had achieved and earned it. Reason, of course, cannot comprehend this way of speaking, which says that our righteousness is something which involves nothing active or passive on our part, yes, something in which I do not participate with my thoughts, perception, and senses; that nothing at all in me makes me pleasing to God and saves me; but that I leave myself and all human thoughts and ability out of account and cling to Christ, who sits up there at the right hand of God and whom I do not even see.
Faith must lay hold of this, must be founded on it, and must take comfort from it in times of temptation, when the devil and man’s own conscience argue with him as follows: “Listen. What kind of Christian are you? Where is your righteousness? Do you not see and feel that you are a sinner? How, then, will you pass muster before God?” Here again he must base his words on this verse and say: “I know very well, and I am sorry to say, that I am a sinner and that in me there is no righteousness that will be valid before God. And I must and will not look for or know of such righteousness in myself, for with it I could never come before God. But in this verse I hear Christ say that my righteousness consists in His going to the Father and in His ascension into heaven. There my righteousness has been deposited, and there the devil will surely have to let it remain; for he will not make Christ a sinner or reprove or find fault with His righteousness. If I am a sinner and my life does not pass muster before God, and if I find no righteousness in myself, I have another treasure, which is the righteousness of which I boast and on which I rely. This is Christ’s going to the Father, which He has presented to me as a gift.” What does this righteousness lack, or what flaw can you find in it? You surely do not see or feel anything of it, do you? Answer: “Indeed, Christ Himself defines and describes righteousness by saying that I will not feel it but must take hold of it by faith in Christ’s Word ‘you will see Me no more.’
But why would I need faith if I could perceive and feel this righteousness in myself?”
Therefore learn this verse well, in order that on the basis of it you may be able to distinguish clearly between Christ’s righteousness and anything else that is called righteousness. For here you learn that the righteousness of which Christ is speaking is not our work or doing, but that it is His going to the Father or His ascension. It is clear and obvious, of course, that there is a wide gulf between the two types of righteousness. Our work surely is not Christ, and His going is not our doing or work…
From this you see how frightfully we erred and were misled up to this time in the papacy. We knew nothing and were taught nothing of the righteousness of Christ inherent in His going to the Father. Instead, we directed the people away from Christ straight to themselves, and we placed our comfort and confidence in our own works. Yes, in addition, we made of Christ a terrible Judge, whom we had to propitiate with our works and with the intercession of Mary and the saints. We taught that we had to atone for our sins and earn righteousness by penance and by rendering satisfaction. Every one of us was afflicted with this blindness and misery. We did not know anything at all about Christ, from whom we might have taken comfort; but we sought everything in ourselves exactly as the heathen do, and we repeated what we heard from the pulpits: “May God spare my life, that I may atone for my sin.” (21) Those are words typical of Turks, Jews, and papists; for in them there is nothing about Christ and His going to the Father, but they express complete dependence on ourselves and our own reformation.
It is true of course that we must improve our conduct and change our way of life, do good and shun evil; but a better life of this kind will not accomplish what Christ’s going to the Father is to accomplish, namely, our justification before God and our salvation. The lives and the works of all the saints and the capabilities of all men are far too weak and too few to accomplish this; for everything they do is surely nothing more than earthly, transitory activity, which must terminate with us and remain here below. And although the works and deeds believers perform in conformity with God’s commandments are pleasing to God and will also be rewarded by Him both in time and in eternity, still they cannot bring us to God or be the righteousness that delivers from sin and death. No, there is no other consolation than Christ’s going to the Father. This is our chief possession and inheritance, our ultimate trust and eternal righteousness.
20. The scholastic doctrine of gratia infusa was accused by the Reformers of diminishing the glory of Christ.
21. In German the formula reads: Friste mir, Gott, mein leben, das ich moege mene Suende buessen.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, American Edition, vol. 24: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John, Chapters 14-16. Ed. Jaroslav Pelikan. Trans. Martin H. Bertram. Concordia: St. Louis, 1961. pp. 346-349.
- Justification (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- Righteousness by Faith (gospelbondservant.com)
- Self Righteousness (bummyla.wordpress.com)
- Declare Christ’s Righteousness (justificationbygrace.com)
- Faith Child – Salvation- Jesus, my Lord (ptl2010.com)
- Righteousness Is A Position And Not Based On Our Actions (chanmunwai.wordpress.com)